Rockley Photonics to establish R&D centre at Tyndall National Institute

Rockley Photonics, SFI
Pictured: Prof Eoin O'Reilly, Tyndall National Institute, Cork; Dr Sunit Rikhi, Rockley Photonics; Prof Mark Ferguson, Science Foundation Ireland; An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar; and Dr Patrick Morrissey, IPIC

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15 March 2018 | 0

Rockley Photonics plans to establish an Irish R&D Centre at Tyndall National Institute, Cork to support its growing global activities, in particular, its Silicon Photonics programme.

The investment is part of a three-year, €3.4 million collaboration with the SFI-funded Irish Photonic Integration Centre (IPIC) at Tyndall, to advance silicon photonics from the lab to market, addressing the growing demand for faster and more energy-efficient data communications in data centres.

With the extraordinary growth in Internet traffic, combined with the non-stop demand for cloud-based services, datacentres play a critical role in meeting the data explosion requirements. Integrated optical technologies that enable data centres to operate faster, more economically and at greater scalability are necessary for the industry to continue to satisfy the demands of the new digital economy.

Today’s market is shifting to transport rates of 100Gb/s, and this is expected to jump to 400Gb/s in the near future – creating a major increase in energy usage as well as scalability issues unless new technologies, such as silicon photonics, are developed and deployed.

Dr Andrew Rickman, founder, CEO, and chairman of Rockley Photonics, said: “Our highly innovative silicon photonics technology is designed to address the optical I/O challenges facing next-generation data centres – allowing network architects to take advantage of new high-density, low-power connectivity solutions and explore new network topologies and equipment design.

“This investment with the SFI Research Centre IPIC will enable us to combine our expertise and utilise Tyndall’s state of the art facilities to develop groundbreaking early-stage technologies, which will not only have a huge impact on the future architecture design of large data centres, but will also improve the power and computational capacity of new consumer devices and provide robust sensing solutions in the autonomous vehicles and consumer device sectors as well as others.”

IPIC director and head of photonics at Tyndall Prof Paul Townsend said: “The investment will not only advance IPIC’s optical modulator and photonics integration technologies into products designed for volume production, but will also strongly position both IPIC and Rockley to take competitive advantage in the datacomms market which is expected to reach $6.4 billion by 2023.”

IPIC and Tyndall photonics centre manager Dr Patrick Morrissey said: “The Rockley-Tyndall partnership enforces Ireland as a leading location for technology companies to efficiently develop and advance their technology, and represents the latest in a long history of industry partnerships that we have developed with leading multinationals and Irish SMEs, to take our leading-edge research from the lab to market.”

The announcement was made at a Science Foundation Ireland event in Washington DC to celebrate and build scientific collaboration between Ireland and the United States as part of the St Patrick’s Day Festival.

The event also saw the awarding of the St Patrick’s Day Science Medal to Prof Margaret Murnane, Professor of Physics and Electrical & Computer Engineering at University of Colorado, and David McCourt, founder and CEO of Granahan McCourt Capital, for their significant contribution to academia, research and industry.

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